George Orwell (aka Eric Blair) has contributed so much to literature and has an accolade few other writers have (though whether he would welcome it is another thing). While it is not unknown for writers to have their sayings go into popular culture over centuries (think Shakespeare especially), how many have their phrases go on to become the titles for TV programmes? Orwell achieves that with Big Brother and Room 101.
Now I admit I have no time for Big Brother, though I am fond of Room 101, which is hosted by Frank Skinner. On the show three well known people get to select two items or things they want consigned forever to the vaults of Room 101.
Admittedly, I don’t always know who the well known people are, such is the nature of celebrity these days, but their comments are often amusing and sometimes thought provoking. A recent show I saw had a guest wanting mosquitoes sent to the vault. Well, why not? It would wipe out malaria. If only it was that easy…
I thought I’d see if I could list 101 things I would want consigned for good. Don’t worry, you’re not getting them all in this post. This is part 1 of a mini series so you won’t get all my moans at once! See if you agree with me – and do send in your suggestions, the funnier the better.
I have never liked the things and yes I have been stung a few times. There’s a link there somewhere! Biased? Of course I am.
No sooner have you removed them then up they pop again. I see weeding as the equivalent of dusting. A never ending and frankly boring task. (Planting out, mowing the lawn, pruning etc I am fine with and quite enjoy – you can see the results of your labour for a start – but weeding? No thanks).
Much as I love blackberries, I hate the plant they grow on. It has to be strictly controlled otherwise it will get everywhere. Any chance of a blackberry plant which doesn’t scratch you to pieces when you get anywhere near it? Hmm…
4. People who leave full dog bags in places where there are no dog bins.
I’m seeing a lot of these up at Jermyns Lane at the moment. NO. NO. NO. Take the bags home and bin them at home. There is NO person to collect these things for you. The bags generally take decades to biodegrade. This is part of your responsibility as a dog owner to clear up. (I could probably write a “rant” piece for CFT on this topic alone as this kind of thing gives all dog owners a bad name. Surprise, surprise, I don’t like that!).
N.B. I expect you’ll all be thankful there are no picture images for this one!
5. Litter Louts.
I once saw a horrendous picture on Facebook of Brighton beach after a Bank Holiday weekend. There was 100 tonnes of rubbish on it. And we ban dogs from the beach in summer time? I think we’re banning the wrong species. There is no excuse for litter. It looks ugly. It is ugly. (And the bin men have enough to do as it is).
Why do people drive like this even in the worst conditions? If you have to brake in an emergency, they are going to ram you. Just what is the point of this? There is nothing that important to justify you having to drive too close to someone else.
7. Red Traffic Light Jumpers.
I’d like to see cameras put on the Hiltingbury Road lights as the number of people on two wheels and four who jump the traffic signals here is increasing. It is a matter of time before there is a bad accident here due to this. It also annoys me as I am training my new dog, Lady, to listen to the “beeper” for crossing the road. She’s doing well on that but there’s no way of explaining to her “er… hang on, we can’t go after all because some inconsiderate being has decided to jump the lights”.
8. Conspicuous Consumption.
I’m all for people enjoying the finer things in life (for me, the ultimate luxury would be being able to buy books without ever having to worry about (a) money and (b) running out of shelf space!). What I don’t like is when people show off about it.
9. Double Parking, especially on bends.
It’s a matter of time before an ambulance or other emergency vehicle can’t get through to deal with a situation in our area because of this. I know the response will be “but we need somewhere to park” to which my reply is “the emergency services need to get through”. I also don’t envy the bus drivers having to deal with this.
10. Lack of Parking Spaces.
It does frustrate me that we want people to support their local area, shops etc, but there is precious little parking available for people to use. Not everybody can use public transport. Some really do need to use their cars.
11. People who use Disabled Parking Spaces but are not entitled to do so.
This is just lazy and inconsiderate. My answer to this – to put the offenders into Room 101 – is considerably friendlier than one answer mooted on social media (which suggested making the offenders suddenly “qualify” to use said disabled parking spaces!).
12. Computer programs/browsers becoming “stuck” and telling you they are “not responding”.
I already know they’re not flaming well responding. What I want to know is why! It isn’t always obvious. Particularly frustrating, of course, when I’m trying to get a CFT post finished!
13. Phone menus where you might finally get to speak to a fellow human being.
This is one where I think most of you will agree with me. I don’t mind a menu of two or three choices but I have had those offering five or six (and by the time you reach six, you’ve forgotten what the first three were!). I also hate those ones where you are put in a queue system with no idea where you are in that queue. The ones that say you are number three in the queue or number fifteen at least give you an idea as to whether it is worth your while staying on the line or not.
14. “Could of, should of etc instead of could have, should have”.
Where did this abomination to the English language come from and when can we send it back there, please?
15. People who say they have no time to read.
Okay, frankly I’m biased here. Course I am. But you do have time to read. You can download stories on your phone, try out flash fiction (told you I was biased given I write it!), and nobody has ever said you have to read a whole book at once. (In the case of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that really would be a challenge).
This phrase, which I’ve heard directly, is an excuse, I think. Much as I’d love people to read my book, at the end of the day I want people to enjoy stories. (And that includes non-fiction. There are some wonderful stories of great achievements in engineering, medicine etc and the best non-fiction uses fictional techniques to grab people’s attention and hold it!).
So what is behind this statement? Are people reluctant to read? If so, why? Is it a lack of confidence or do people just not see books as a form of entertainment? I am bemused at the latter as books work out to be a relatively cheap form of entertainment given how often you can read them and equally if you don’t want to do that, how about borrowing them from the library?
More to come from me over the next few weeks on this but comments welcome in the meantime.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.